5.30.2015

Giro 20: Campionissimi on Cima Coppi

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Break-away: Bérard, Bandiera, Boem, Saramotins, Ulissi, Izagirre, Berlato, Busato, Zakarin.
Colle delle Finestre: 1'24 for the leaders. Finestre is 18,5k, average 9,2%. Last 7,8k sterrato (gravel). Zakarin attaks. He conquers Cima Coppi.
Embedded image permalinkIn the main group Pirazzi is the first one trying to bridge. Then Kruiswijk attacks and Contador counters. A small group forms, including also Landa, Hesjedal, Amador, Uran, Aru and Kangert.
35.5km to go Pirazzi is caught. 1’31” to Zakarin. 
32 km to go Landa attacks, Contador has to chase. Hesjedal attacks too.

Ben King ‏@BenKing89
"Dangit Ryder! How am I supposed to get out the door for training when you keep making the #Giro2015 so exciting!"

Embedded image permalinkLanda joins Zakarin. Hesjedal and Uran are chasing together, Aru rejoins them. Contador is 1’16” down.  10 km to go Landa is leading, Zakarin on his wheel, at 39" Kruiswijk, Aru, Uran and Hesjedal are chasing and at 1'22" there is Contador. Konig and Nieve are in a group 1' 30" back.
Embedded image permalinkContador joined Kangert and is reducing his gap. Landa almost stopped waiting for Aru and now is pulling the front group. Zakarin's chain gets down, anyway he's cooked and gets dropped. 4 km to go he's caught by Contador and Kangert.
1.5 km to go Aru attacks, Uran on his wheel. Hesjedal is dropped but tries to resist. Aru attacks again and goes solo. He wins the stage.
But Alberto Contador has won the Giro d'Italia.

Fabio Aru:
“Mikel made a really exceptional attack, he made the difference. Then when Alberto was dropped, I was on the wheel of [Ryder] Hesjedal and [Rigoberto] Urán. When I heard the gap to Contador was growing I started working too.
I’ve got a very good relationship with Mikel. Today we spoke on the Finestre, and he made an incredible attack. We’re both Astana riders. We weren’t thinking about our own places, we were thinking about doing a great job for the team. Today shows you that, ok, we both have personal ambitions, but above all we’re a team.
When I had the legs to attack Contador, I didn’t hold back. But he’s not just a great champion, he’s a great person, as I found when I got talking to him during the Vuelta last year. He has shown a lot of respect to me, and when I’m given respect by people, I return that respect. That’s important in sport and in life.
I think doing such a long time trial was a big experience that will help me in the future. You’ll all have noticed that I’ve got a lot of room for improvement in that department, and I’ll work on the particulars with my coaches and trainers. But I’m still happy to the have done that time trial.
We’ll think about tomorrow’s stage first, then I’ll talk with Vino and the team directors and we’ll decide the programme."
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Alberto Contador:
"After hard months of work it's almost done.Thanks to all!"
“I’ve paid for the efforts of racing hard each day. But I knew that I had a good margin on Aru already. It was all about not panicking and concentrating on keeping things under control. I will have a good supper tonight, but the build-up for the Tour starts here.”
“Today was not a great stage for me. I wasn't feeling good, probably because of the accumulated effort, but I knew I had a good cushion in the GC and, even though there were plenty of kilometers to go before the finish, I preferred to ride at my own rhythm. There was never a moment, where I thought the jersey was in danger. I remained calm because I knew that the difference in speeds between the groups was going to be small.
We'll have a good dinner tonight, although I have to watch my weight for the Tour. This Giro d'Italia is in the bag now, with just tomorrow's stage to come, so I'm already thinking of my next target”.


Rigoberto Uran:
"Today we did everything to try and win this stage. After a few kilometers into the stage we had the feeling that the battle would start from the Colle delle Finestre. It was a matter of staying in the peloton and saving energy for the finale. On the Colle delle Finestre I felt good. I always reacted to the attacks and I was never in difficulty on that climb. I decided to try and stay on the wheels because there was the battle for the GC going on. I was only waiting for the last climb because it was a climb I knew, and I knew it was good for my skills. So, I collaborated in the final to catch the breakaway with Landa and Zakarin. Landa did a good tempo when we caught them, but at 2km to go Aru attacked and I reacted. However, when he saw me on his wheel he attacked again. Unfortunately, I couldn't follow. I hung on to take at least a podium place. 
Embedded image permalinkI am a little bit sad, because we did everything to win the stage and it didn't work out. Still, considering everything, I also have to say how great it was on the Colle delle Finestre today. I think it was really a great show for the spectators and for cycling. The last 8 kilometers of the climb were gravel and it was really something unforgettable for the riders. In sports, even if you are not feeling your best, there are moments like this where you are so inspired by the public and the circumstances that you find the energy to go full gas anyway. This was a spectacular parcours. Now we are nearing the end of the Giro. I have to be satisfied with the reaction of myself and my team in the last week of the Giro, after a lot of problems. At the end of this Giro d'Italia we have the feeling things could be different if we had a bit more luck and health in the first part of the race. But, it is what it is. It's time to turn the page and start thinking about the next races. I want to thank the staff and riders for staying committed always. My race today is for them, for the effort they put into this race for me." 
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Leo König:
"Now I regret the crash which has probably cost me a top five. That's how things are. In the end to be sixth as a domestique for Richie is not that bad. It's going to be my best Grand Tour result and my first time at the Giro. I'm just happy that the Giro is a race for me. I was a little bit worried that it's too early and my early form is not that good. I think I've proved myself as a Grand Tour contender. To start three Grand Tours and finish them nine, seven and six is not bad I think!
"I wanted to score a top five. That was the goal and I want to keep this goal for the upcoming Tours. But now it is important to support the other guys from Sky and to support Froomey if I ride the Tour."
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ORICA-GreenEdge DS Matt White:
“There were a few relieved boys after today’s stage. After the first week we had, I am very very happy with how they have continued to ride right throughout the Tour. Results are obviously the priority, but it’s nice to be able to get to the final day with seven riders.”
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Steven Kruijswijk:
“It was my ambition to finish in the top 10 of the general classification. I succeeded in a very beautiful way. I wasn’t able to win a stage, but I grabbed many good results. I’m glad with that. I wasn’t good enough to win the mountain classification, unfortunately. We had to make sure that Visconti and Intxausti were forced behind. That went well, but you know that it’s also a race and the others aren’t thinking about your ambitions to win the mountain jersey. But it was a very good Giro for me. I think that the people in the Netherlands got excited about it. I’m glad that I was responsible for that.”

Ryder Hesjedal:
“You always want to win but your sensations are still pretty good when you come across the line like that and you known you’ve given it everything. I’m happy with my Giro. I had fun. It’s a brutal race. To have won it a few years ago, taken a top 10 last year despite setbacks and then a top five this year… I’ve had a good time.
I loved it out there on the dirt road. I ride on that stuff all the time and grew up riding on roads like that. I was having a great time out there.
I wasn’t looking to win the race by attacking on the Finestre but I knew that’s where I needed to make the race for myself. I was still looking of moving the classification and so it was a kind of double project: try to win the stage but also do what I needed do. I needed to push the race. In the end it was tough to win but second is okay on a day like today.
He’s strong man, and has that kick at the end that I can’t follow and he creates a bit of distance. I had Uran on with me a little but but we couldn’t do anything about it.
It’s fun if you can hurt the pink jersey…. But he’s been doing a different race,” Hesjedal pointed out. “He’s been in the jersey for so long and so he knew what he was doing. He only had to keep things under control and check. Congrats to him, he’s a great rider.
I feel good and think I can keep doing this. We’ll see what happens when I freshen up and take a break,” Hesjedal said. We always want to try and get to that place where I won the Giro [in 2012] and had better form when I started the Tour. Twenty-thirteen didn’t work out, it just didn’t come together and I never got enough racing and got sick. Last year I chose not to do the Tour. I gave so much at the Giro and wanted to try the Vuelta and do the second part of the season.
This year I’ve always had it in my mind to do that again [ride the Giro and Tour] but you don’t know 'til you go through this race. But the way I’ve got through it now, I’d definitely like to see if it can happen.”

Embedded image permalinkGiacomo Nizzolo:
“Today was the last mountain stage so we tried to manage the best we could on the last two climbs. The whole team stayed together today, except Fabio [Felline] was ahead. I am really proud that my mates stayed with me the whole time, and that helped me and each of us to get through, it was certainly more fun.
We will speak about tomorrow’s strategy tonight or tomorrow morning, and for sure it is a day that we have been waiting for a long time, especially me.  We will see tomorrow, everyone knows that I am really motivated, but we will see tomorrow what is the feeling. 
I can say that tomorrow it will be a team effort, and I think everyone can make a great job, so hopefully we will show what we are really able to do.”

Andrey Amador: 
"We knew the podium was going to be really difficult to achieve, but we must remain happy about what we have accomplished. Just like in previous days, I kept using my technique or riding steady, without pushing too much, not to lose it all, with the difference that we had to give all that we had today, because there was no 'tomorrow'. It was a difficult day, in general: the pace was fast in the beginning, meaning that the stage was harder at the end; the pace through Finestre was strong, and that 'sterrato' forced us to keep a bit more attention, though it wasn't really humid and didn't make things even more complicated; finally, the Sestriere climb, which we spent into the pursuit.
We lost time over the first ascent, but I was lucky to have Beñat by my side - he was fantastic, rode like a beast to the finish. He gained much time on the leaders and avoided Hesjedal putting us into trouble - Ryder was some minutes behind, but was becoming sort of a threat. I'm really thankful about what Beñat did. Without my team-mates, we couldn't have achieved this: having the whole team supporting me in the beginning of the stage, plus Intxausti into the final climb, was the key not to lose much time and keep the fourth spot.
Cycling, sport in general, life... comes this way. Sometimes you need to become more mature to achieve this kind of success, or maybe reach an opportunity like the one I enjoyed during this Giro. I think I profited well from it. It's a massive boost of confidence for the future. It's true that a fourth place overall might not be remembered other than by the one who achieved it, but all in all, it's a step forward in my progression. I hope to continue this way, helping the team out and getting results
This team has big leaders, like Nairo or Alejandro, but the rest of us always had a chance to shine. We got one into this Giro and I think we did well, but the key for us is working for them two. After Sunday, we will go back to Barcelona to recover for some days from the race's efforts and we will see how I feel before planning on the next racing schedule. Then, I'll know if I remain in Europe or head back home."

RESULTS
STAGE
1 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step
4 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
6 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
7 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
8 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
9 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team
GC
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 84:03:30
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:02:02
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:03:14
4 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 00:08:19
5 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 00:09:52
6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 00:10:50
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 00:11:02
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 00:12:17
9 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 00:16:00
10 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 00:16:23


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